Defendant appealed his conviction for assault with a deadly weapon from the Superior Court of San Diego County (California) and was sentenced to four years in state prison.
The defendant was seen threatening people with a CO2 powered pellet pistol. When police apprehended the defendant, he pointed the pistol at police in a threatening manner. The police managed to disarm the defendant and discovered the defendant was in possession of a pellet pistol. The pistol was test fired by police and the results showed the pellet could travel at speeds of 350 feet per second. An expert testified that significant harm could be inflicted at such speeds. The defendant was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon under Cal. ADA lawyer San Diego Penal Code § 245 and he appealed. Defendant asserted there was insufficient evidence to support a finding that the pellet pistol was a deadly weapon. The court determined the gun could expel pellets at speeds in excess of those required to penetrate significant muscle tissue and as such the gun was a deadly weapon as a matter of law.
Judgment affirmed; pellet pistol that could expel pellets at speeds in excess of those required to penetrate significant muscle tissue was properly determined to be a deadly weapon as a matter of law.
Defendznt appealed from a judgment of the Superior Court of Orange County (California), which sentenced him to death after convicting him of first degree murder, attempted willful, deliberate, and premeditated murder; burglary, robbery, and false imprisonment by violence, all by use of a firearm. The jury found true the burglary-murder and robbery-murder special circumstances as to both murders and a multiple-murder special circumstance.
One early morning, defendant robbed and murdered a clerk at a convenience store and a clerk at a nearby liquor store. The court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting into evidence the liquor store clerk’s dying declaration that the shooter was a short Mexican male who had arrived in a car. Although the clerk survived for 11 more days before dying, at the time he made the statement, the clerk knew he had been shot, was in great pain and on the ground in a fetal position, was fearful of dying, and never spoke again. Admission of the dying declaration, which was admissible at common law, did not violate the Confrontation Clause. The trial court’s very brief questioning of witnesses, which was authorized by Cal. Evid. Code § 775, did not constitute error because the questions were for purposes of clarification, not advocacy. The court found no misconduct in the penalty phase in the prosecutor’s reference to his special knowledge, which was brief and largely involved collateral matters, or in the prosecutor’s argument that the jury should assign little weight to evidence that the murder victim’s relatives relied on their religious beliefs for comfort.
The court affirmed the judgment.